Q and A: Benefits of Social Customer Service


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The abil­ity of ser­vice orga­ni­za­tions to oper­a­tional­ize social media to opti­mize tra­di­tional sup­port chan­nels will no doubt be a pow­er­ful vari­able in long term cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion. Recently I had the oppor­tu­nity to inter­view Cata­rina Cen­teno Duarte, Online Mar­ket­ing Man­ager for Alti­tude Soft­ware on the impor­tance of social cus­tomer ser­vice adop­tion by indus­try lead­ers. Con­tinue read­ing to view her insight­ful answers.

62% of con­sumers have used social media for cus­tomer ser­vice issues. Zendesk.com

What are the ben­e­fits of social cus­tomer ser­vice for the cus­tomer? I believe social cus­tomer ser­vice makes our lives eas­ier. We all are aware that the customer’s behav­ior towards cus­tomer ser­vice is chang­ing. Cus­tomers now have a wide range of self-service resources such as online com­mu­ni­ties, blogs, social net­works, and Q&A sec­tions that most of the times are used as the first source to try and find answers to their issues, com­plaints, and doubts. Some­times, cus­tomer sup­port is only con­tacted as a “cry for help,” as I nor­mally say. In the end, and in the customer’s per­spec­tive, social media brings a wide range of emerg­ing chan­nels that can be used to solve issues quicker and more efficiently.

What are the ben­e­fits of social cus­tomer ser­vice for the com­pany? I recently attended a pre­sen­ta­tion from a global mobile tele­com com­pany that talked about the impact of self-care cus­tomer sup­port in their con­tact cen­ter oper­a­tions. The prac­ti­cal result was that they had a decrease in num­ber of calls han­dled and an increase in han­dling time and cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion. Why? The only calls that reached the call cen­ter were the most impor­tant and that were worth spend­ing time with.

If invest­ing in social cus­tomer ser­vice, com­pa­nies can tar­get their best efforts to valu­able inter­ac­tions and to cre­at­ing excel­lent cus­tomer experiences.

How impor­tant is it to mon­i­tor cus­tomer activ­ity on social media? In today’s social real­ity, cus­tomers do not for­give neg­a­tive expe­ri­ences from any com­pany. We are get­ting much more demand­ing and we know that we have more power than we’ve had before. If some­thing goes wrong we know that we can turn to our social media chan­nels, and spread the word. And our peers will lis­ten. Many stud­ies say that peo­ple take rec­om­men­da­tions from friends, fam­ily, and col­leagues very seriously.

If com­pa­nies are not mon­i­tor­ing, they will be far more exposed. Peo­ple will talk about you whether you’re there or not. This is what hap­pens. It’s also inter­est­ing to see that the WOW fac­tor is also present. Peo­ple who get answers from com­pa­nies, via social media, can some­times be sur­prised and they will also share the good expe­ri­ence (I have done that!).

It will be more dif­fi­cult for com­pa­nies to con­trol dam­ages com­ing from social media than avoid them. Inte­grat­ing social media mon­i­tor­ing into con­tact cen­ter oper­a­tions could sim­ply be added as a new chan­nel — a new inter­ac­tion to han­dle (as they do with voice, email or chat).

“In my opin­ion, com­pa­nies should try and find the social enthu­si­asts and cap­i­tal­ize on their “nat­ural skills” com­ple­ment­ing their train­ing with com­pany guidelines.”

Will employ­ees require addi­tional train­ing to suc­cess­fully engage with social cus­tomers? Def­i­nitely! Engag­ing with cus­tomers via online or social media chan­nels requires spe­cific skills that prob­a­bly most agents don’t have yet. The tone of the con­ver­sa­tion, the approach is clearly dif­fer­ent if we are deal­ing with a phone call, or an email, or answer­ing a Tweet. In my opin­ion, com­pa­nies should try and find the social enthu­si­asts and cap­i­tal­ize on their “nat­ural skills,” com­ple­ment­ing their train­ing with com­pany guidelines.

Will tra­di­tional cus­tomer ser­vice chan­nels even­tu­ally go away? No, absolutely not! I have come across dif­fer­ent stud­ies about the State of Social Cus­tomer Ser­vice. One of them men­tions that the num­ber of peo­ple search­ing online to solve cus­tomer ser­vice issues is 57%. How­ever the same peo­ple said they would like to have a company’s con­tact num­ber eas­ier to find (68%).

I believe the vol­ume of inter­ac­tions in tra­di­tional chan­nels may decrease over time (espe­cially because younger gen­er­a­tions today will pre­fer emerg­ing chan­nels, and they are the future cus­tomer ser­vice users) but won’t dis­ap­pear. There are, for exam­ple, spe­cific issues that can only be treated by phone or email (pri­vacy issues).

Bottom-line: Your cus­tomers are par­tic­i­pat­ing in social media. They are talk­ing, they are prais­ing, they are com­plain­ing. If your com­pany does not cur­rently have a social ser­vice pres­ence – it is likely your cus­tomers will turn to a com­peti­tor who is proac­tively mon­i­tor­ing men­tions of not only their com­pany but also your brand name.

Thank you Cata­rina for shar­ing your com­ments! You can read more from Cata­rina on the Alti­tude blog or fol­low @AltitudeSoft.

Alti­tude Soft­ware (www.altitude.com) is the leader of uni­fied cus­tomer inter­ac­tion solu­tions, man­ag­ing dynamic con­tact cen­ters inde­pen­dently of plat­forms since 1993. With about 300.000 users in 1100 cus­tomers in 80 coun­tries, Alti­tude strives for cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion and is ISO 9001 cer­ti­fied for its world­wide sup­port. Alti­tude Soft­ware has won 50+ indus­try awards. “Alti­tude uCI” (uni­fied cus­tomer inter­ac­tion) is a soft­ware suite that man­ages in real time enter­prise func­tions like Cus­tomer Ser­vice, Help Desk, Col­lec­tions, Tele­sales, Sur­veys, etc. It is unique in accel­er­at­ing the cre­ation of ser­vices and cam­paigns, thanks to the uni­fied design stu­dio, rout­ing, dialer, voice por­tal, desk­top front-end, mon­i­tor­ing and ana­lyt­ics. Alti­tude Soft­ware can be reached at +1 877 4744499 or [email protected]

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Rachel Miller
Rachel Miller is the Customer Engagement Manager at Nimble - a simple, affordable social relationship manager.


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